October 31 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” ~Jeremiah 29:7


During Jeremiah’s ministry, in 605 BC, the king of Babylon laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and made Judah a “vassal” (meaning Judah’s king remained on his throne but the nation paid taxes and homage to Babylon). Jeremiah had predicted that God would use Babylon to discipline His people if they did not change their ways. Afterward, he advised the people to repent and to accept their punishment by honoring Babylon. Instead, three years later, they rebelled. Judah refused to pay taxes, declared its independence, and gathered troops to take a stand against the foreign invader.

So in 597 BC, troops from Babylon returned. They conquered the land and carried off the king and his court into exile, as well as the priests and what we might call the aristocrats (the wealthy and the ruling classes). Second Kings 24:14 records that “only the poorest people of the land were left.” The king of Babylon put a puppet king, Zedekiah, on the throne to rule the people under the authority of the Babylonian Empire. Jeremiah called on the people who were left to learn their lesson and turn from their sins.

Now we come to our reading for today. Jeremiah sends word to the exiles to take their punishment and turn from their sinful ways. He tells them to settle down in Babylon: build homes, plant gardens, get married, have children, and enjoy life to the fullest. Exiles were not typically imprisoned unless they refused to cooperate. Instead, they were considered welcome additions to the economic growth and cultural diversity of the empire. “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jer. 29:7).

Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper pointed to this passage and others like it to call God’s people to be active participants in culture. Wherever God has sovereignly placed you—in whatever city or country—you should go about your life wholeheartedly and seek to make your city a better place. Pray for the peace and prosperity of your city and country for if our home prospers, we enjoy the benefits! If Jeremiah were alive today, I have no doubt that he would have some words for evangelical Christians who degrade their leaders and fail to seek the peace and prosperity of the places in which they have been sovereignly located. Now there’s something to think about.


Young Titus is a pastor on the island of Crete, and he has his work cut out for him. His first task is to appoint leaders he can count on. Too many pastors limit what they can accomplish because they are doing all the ministering. This was not Jesus’ model in the gospels, this was not the model of the church in the book of Acts (see Acts 6), and it is not the model taught in the pastoral epistles. Pastors must appoint people of solid character who are competent and trusted to carry out the ministry. They must be strong enough to confront the gossips and troublemakers in the church and tell them to shut their mouths (Titus 1:10-12). They must handle themselves with grace and grit for the glory of God and the good of the church.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.